Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Crew Review: The Fun Spanish from Brookdale House

 Brookdale House Review

We have never studied foreign languages in elementary school. It just wasn't on my radar, and seemed too overwhelming. When The Fun Spanish from Brookdale House became available as a Schoolhouse Crew review, I was intrigued. It seemed simple, fun, and manageable. I was sure my 9 year old daughter would love it! I was right.


 Brookdale House Review


We received the level 1 e-book, as a digital download. We had no problems downloading the e-book, even with our rural internet. Once it was saved to my computer, I printed the e-book from my home printer, then 3-hole punched it and placed it in a 3-ring binder. Yellow, to keep it fun.

When my daughter saw The Fun Spanish, she was very excited. She couldn't wait to start. Each lesson is meant to last a week (or two) and contains 5 sets of activities. Each day we cover verb conjugation, vocabulary, and translation practice. The translation practice is our favorite part. First, we translate a simple sentence. Then we get to translate a silly sentence and illustrate it.

The introduction contains a weekly lesson plan, which includes a reminder to review all the sentences each week. If you want the curriculum to last for a full year, instead of one semester, there are also alternate suggestions for adding more review and slowing the pace of the curriculum. I actually prefer the slower pace, making the lessons last for two weeks. I adapted the plan a bit, letting the material simmer for two days each week without actual review on those rest days. So we study 3 days the first week, 2 days the second week, and have a general review the last day of week 2. I just prefer a relaxed educational style at this age.

I appreciate that each day's activities are short, and not overwhelming. It completely fits with Charlotte Mason's recommended short, focused lessons so attention is learned and rewarded. The student is rewarded for the daily memorization work with the silly sentence and drawing. I admit there were days my daughter wanted to skip over the lessons to the translation, and I had to encourage her to stick to it. Overall, she enjoyed the program, though.

The focus throughout level one of The Fun Spanish is on translating from Spanish to English. The student is never asked to piece together a sentence in Spanish on their own. Instead, they learn vocabulary and verb conjugation without the pressure of building correct sentences. It's a gentle introduction to the Spanish language.

I do not consider foreign languages a necessary subject in elementary grades at all, but if you do want to introduce Spanish in the 3rd through 6th grade range, The Fun Spanish is a relaxed and fun resource. I do recommend looking up some pronunciation guides online. In addition to the difference in alphabet sounds, the Spanish language places the syllable emphasis differently than the English language. This isn't explained in The Fun Spanish, but I think it should be modeled and taught from the start of the language lessons.

The Fun Spanish is available in printed book or e-book format from Brookdale House. You can follow Brookdale House on social media, too.


April E.

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